VP Pence would take power under 25th amendment if Trump becomes incapacitated from COVID - and GOP still has time to pick a replacement if president becomes too ill before the election

 President Trump could potentially be forced to relinquish executive control to Vice President Mike Pence or be replaced on the GOP ticket altogether, if he becomes incapacitated from COVID-19. 

The president confirmed on Friday that he and First Lady Melania tested positive for coronavirus after traveling with counselor Hope Hicks, who fell ill on Wednesday.

'Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!' he tweeted.   

Trump is 74 years old, which puts him at higher risk of serious complications from virus.

With the presidential election less than 32 days away, the positive result means the government may have to consider contingency plans in line with the Constitution should Trump become too ill to go through with the race. 

The 25th Amendment states that the vice president can replace the commander-in-chief temporarily in the event that Trump is incapacitated.  

If the VP is also unable to assume control, the powers are then delegated to the Speaker of the House, in this case, Nancy Pelosi. 

THURSDAY: Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2020, following campaign events in New Jersey hours before revealing he has COVID-19

THURSDAY: Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2020, following campaign events in New Jersey hours before revealing he has COVID-19

The president tweeted to confirm the news shortly before 1am EST Friday

The president tweeted to confirm the news shortly before 1am EST Friday

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump began 'their quarantine process' Thursday evening after Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump began 'their quarantine process' Thursday evening after Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19 

Line of succession: Under the 25th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence is next to assume executive control if the president cannot finish his term
The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is second in line, if neither the president nor VP can take over

Line of succession: Under the 25th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence is next to assume executive control if the president cannot finish his term. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is second in line, if neither the president nor VP can take over 


However, the looming election further complicates the matter, as the Democratic and Republican national committees could also pick a replacement to run on their party's ticket if the nominee were to withdraw. 

The committee could choose to nominate the vice presidential candidate, or another member of their party. 

The selection process would depend on the parties' respective bylaws.  

Under this scenario, all 168 members of the RNC would have to meet to vote on Trump's replacement. 

The rules require all members - three from each state and three from six territories -  to cast the same number of votes they were entitled to cast at the national convention. 

If members of a given state fail to unanimously agree on the casting of votes, they would then divide it equally and cast a third of those votes. 

That scenario, although hypothetical, would be the first of its kind since no presidential candidate of either party has ever died or withdrawn before an election.  

A statement from the White House doctor said both the president and first lady are 'well at this time' but did not say if either have symptoms. 

If Trump becomes seriously ill, there are constitutional procedures that would allow Vice President Pence to assume power temporarily. 

The Constitution's 25th Amendment spells out the procedures under which a president can declare themselves 'unable to discharge the powers and duties' of the presidency. 

If he were to make that call, Trump would transmit a written note to the Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pence would serve as acting president until Trump transmitted 'a written declaration to the contrary.'

This has happened occasionally, with Ronald Reagan briefly putting George H.W. Bush in charge during surgery in 1985, before George W. Bush temporarily transferred powers to Dick Cheney during colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007. 

These were all brief, scheduled transfers of power and came nowhere near a re-election campaign.  

There is also a second, never-used option: the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, in which case Pence would become Acting President until Trump could provide a written declaration to the contrary.

There has also been speculation about a delayed election, but this is highly unlikely because voting is already underway. 

While the Constitution does not specify an election date, moving the poll would require an act of Congress including support from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. 

And regardless of the election date, Trump's term ends on January 20.  

First lady Melania tweeted: 'As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.' 

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. 

Trump departs campaign event hours before positive COVID test
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WEDNESDAY: Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, left, with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, walk from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs to a rally in Minnesota. It was on the way home from this trip that Hicks is said to have first shown symptoms of the virus

WEDNESDAY: Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, left, with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, walk from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs to a rally in Minnesota. It was on the way home from this trip that Hicks is said to have first shown symptoms of the virus

VP Pence would take power under 25th amendment if Trump becomes incapacitated from COVID - and GOP still has time to pick a replacement if president becomes too ill before the election VP Pence would take power under 25th amendment if Trump becomes incapacitated from COVID - and GOP still has time to pick a replacement if president becomes too ill before the election Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:50 Rating: 5

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